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NBA MVP Race: Rising Stars Who Deserve More Credit Following Stellar Season

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NBA MVP Race: Rising Stars Who Deserve More Credit Following Stellar Season
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LeBron James is going to win the 2013 MVP race.

No, I'm not a fortune teller, and I'm sorry if that "bombshell" burst your bubble at all. But the reality is that no player can attest to the season of LBJ.

Not Kevin Durant, not Carmelo Anthony, not Kobe Bryant.

James has been simply devastating for the Heat, leading them on an incredible winning streak and consistently posting up big numbers every single night. His achievements this year have been well-documented and reported, and he will surely take home the MVP title as a result of that.

How the other stars mentioned above finish behind James is secondary. 

Having said all that, however, there have been a number of star players in 2013 who haven't received the same attention of James or Anthony, yet they should have. Right across the league, there's been several rising stars who have been genuine game-changers this year, yet they aren't getting the credit or praise they truly deserve.

At least not when it comes to discussing the Most Valuable Player.

Read on to see several players who deserve much more credit than what they've been shown following their stellar 2012-13 season so far.

 

Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets

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Lopez has emerged (especially over the last few weeks) as a genuine All-Star for the Nets and a player they're going to lean on heavily in the playoffs.

He is almost unstoppable with his back to the basket and leads all centers in scoring, Player Efficiency Rating, Value Added and Estimated Wins Added—categories in which he's easily been the best center in the league in.

In his fifth season, the 25-year-old Lopez has really found a great place in the Nets frontcourt and has combined brilliantly with Deron Williams throughout.

If Brooklyn can add in another dominant big man and some depth on the bench, then this is a team that could make some serious noise in years to come.

As it stands, they're already being touted as potential giant-killers in the playoffs this year—imagine what they could do with an even deeper squad.

 

Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Few would dispute the presence of Steph Curry on this list, who, after being left out of the All-Star Game, has proven the doubters incredibly wrong.

Curry will likely break the record for the most three-pointers in a single season—eclipsing Ray Allen's mark despite taking significantly fewer shots. Moreover, he's done it when the Warriors have needed it the most—leading them to their first postseason berth in six years as a result.

Averaging an incredible 22.8 points and 6.9 assists per game, Curry has been simply unstoppable this year, and if he continues to develop as such for the next few seasons, he could well enter the discussion for MVP alongside the names mentioned above.

His 54 points against the New York Knicks proved that to be true, and as long as he can stay healthy, the sharp-shooter can become a genuine superstar.

If he's not one already. 

 

Paul George, Indiana Pacers

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

When Danny Granger went down with injury, many assumed that the Pacers' chances this season were doomed. However, somebody clearly forgot to tell Paul George that, with the 22-year-old ensuring that Indiana would once again find itself in the postseason.

George has filled the void left by Granger—posting career-high averages of 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game this season—and gets through a mountain of work defensively. So much so that, per Basketball Reference, George leads the league in defensive win shares.

What George's production will be once Granger returns and if Roy Hibbert and David West continue to perform is still largely unknown.

However, with his skills this year and the way that he's carried the Pacers at times, there's little doubting he can continue to thrive in the NBA.

He deserves much more praise than he has this season and, if the Pacers can stay healthy, could well be a large part of a title contending team in the future, which certainly won't do any damage his potential MVP stock should that moment arise.

 

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